The uniqueness of our research lies in the emphasis on the generic aspects of design activity, rather than developing specific disciplinary areas. The Design Group is a unique teaching and research unit comprising a multidisciplinary team of staff. The group is unusual, and perhaps unique, in being devoted to the subject of design as a distinct domain/discipline. Research in design embraces a broad range of subject areas including architecture, planning, product and industrial design, fashion design and engineering design, with a focus on design as the underlying process and the possibilities this entails. The group approaches design as a natural human ability but also as a special skill or practice that can be nurtured through design education. The uniqueness of our research is that it is not confined to any particular professional area of application, but instead tries to understand and promote design thinking and design processes in different domains: from product and information design, through to engineering design, architecture, transport, town planning and policy. This includes studying the complex processes and environments within which design activity and products are situated, as well as understanding how design activity can become a vehicle for innovation and sustainability.
Generally, a research degree in this area has an empirical component and can include rigorous formal work in developing computational methods and tools. We welcome applications from a wide range of backgrounds. Full-time research students normally work on a project originally formulated by a member of staff. Part-time research students normally work on a project that they have formulated, often related to their occupation, which also fits within the research interests of the group.